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York University announces a new student award in honour of Invictus Games

York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton welcomed the Invictus Games National Flag Tour to the Keele campus on Sept. 20.

At the welcome ceremony, Lenton announced a new award in honour of the Invictus Games in support of increased access to postsecondary education for Canada’s Military personnel and their children.

The York University Service Award provides up to $20,000 over four years to a York University student who is a Canadian Armed Forces member, active or retired, and who has a physical, sensory, medical, mental health or learning disability. The award will also be available to a student with a disability who is a child of a Canadian Armed Forces member.

“This new award will stand as a legacy of the 2017 Invictus Games at York, and will serve as an important way to honour the dedicated individuals whose commitment to service exemplifies the best of Canada,” said Lenton. “It is a great honour to host the inspiring athletes who will compete at next week’s Invictus Games here at York, and we look forward to welcoming competitors, their families and the wider community to the University.”

Image by York University
Above: Back row, from left, President & Vice-Chancellor of York University, Rhonda Lenton, Schulich School of Business student and flag bearer, Sayam Khan, Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden, Commander, 4th Canadian Division, York U Professor Walter Perchal, Giovanna Cioffi, three-time graduate of York University. Pictured in the front row are York University Lions athletes.

“The York University Service Award demonstrates the institution’s recognition of the dedication and courage of the men and women who serve our country so well. I know what a tremendous impact events and programs like this have on our military and their families,” said Brigadier-General Stephen Cadden, commander, 4th Canadian Division.

York University’s Keele Campus was the first stop in the Greater Toronto Area during The National Flag Tour, which has travelled from coast-to-coast visiting 22 military bases, 15 legions and more than 50 communities. The tour runs from Aug. 16 through to Sept. 22.

York University students Sayem Khan and Giovanna Cioffi and Professor Walter Perchal, were selected to help carry the Official Invictus Games Flag – a physical representation of the unconquerable spirit of the Games’ competitors.

Image by York University
Above: From left, Vimy, Invictus Games mascot, Flag bearers Sayam Khan, Schulich School of Business student, Professor Walter Perchal of York University, and Giovanna Cioffi, who is a three-time graduate of York University. Both Perchal and Cioffi are current members of the Canadian Forces.

Sayem Khan is a member of the elite Schulich Ambassador Program at the Schulich School of Business at York University. Khan applied to be a flag bearer via the Invictus Games. He arrived in Canada as an immigrant and is proud of his work with the Toronto Police Service’s ‘Youth in Policing’ initiative.

Professor Walter Perchal is a current member of the York University faculty. He served with the Canadian Forces for many years. Over the course of his duties, as a Senior Officer, Perchal previously commanded The Royal Regiment of Canada. He later served as Special Advisor to the Canadian Army Commander, and did foreign service as a Military Advisor with NATO Allies.

Giovanna Cioffi is a three-time graduate of York University. She is now pursuing her PhD in Communication and Culture. Coffi earned two master’s degrees including Environmental Science and Disaster and Emergency Management from York, following her undergraduate York Degree. She currently serves with the Canadian Forces.

The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 takes place from Sept. 23 to 30. York University will serve as a venue for the games’ athletics competition. York is among several venues in the Greater Toronto Area to host the competition. On Sept. 24 and 25 athletes will compete at the York Lions Stadium in athletics events that include track, jumping, throwing and combined events including those competing in wheelchairs, with prostheses, or under the guidance of a sighted person known as a guide.

The Invictus Games uses the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of and respect for those who serve their country and their loved ones.  Visit www.InvictusGames2017.com for the full Flag Tour schedule and tickets.

This feature is repurposed from Yfile, York University’s eNewletter, September 21, 2017.

The Division of Students reflections on success

Happy summer to you!

As we see our students crossing the stage during Convocation this week, it is a good time to reflect on all the great work that has been accomplished this past year.

Some key accomplishments from the year include:

  • Held the largest-ever York Orientation Day event.
  • YU START earned two nationally recognized awards for innovation – one from CACUSS and the other from CAUBO.
  • Launched the Student Mental Health strategy as part of the overall Campus Mental Health strategy.
  • Received Canada 150 funding to enhance and deliver our largest ever annual Career Success Symposium for students with disabilities.
  • Debbie Hansen named Executive Director, Community Supports & Services. She and her team are leading the new Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education.
  • Completed the expansion of our Accommodated Test & Exam Centre.
  • Skennenko:wa Gamig (The House of Great Peace, formerly Hart House) formally opened on  June 21. The facility, dedicated for use by Indigenous students, staff and faculty as a gathering space, will provide additional programming space for CASS and serve as a gathering place for the Indigenous community at York.
  • In August 2017, ACMAPS will celebrate its tenth year of dedicated service to mature and part-time students. In that time we’ve helped literally thousands of students on their journey to graduation, including York’s eldest graduate ever at age 89, Alma Kocialek.
  • Long-time York University Lions head athletic therapist Cindy Hughes inducted into the Canadian Athletic Therapy Association (CATA) Hall of Fame.
  • York University Lions wrestling brothers Mohab El-Nahas and Shady El-Nahas each won gold medals in their respective weight classes at the Canadian Open Judo Championships in Calgary.
  • York University Lions quarterback Brett Hunchak will participate this summer in the Edmonton Eskimos training camp as part of the CFL-CIS Development Program.
  • Completion of Manage My Academic Record website – enhancing student wayfinding.
  • Implementation of Electronic Funds Transfer for refunds to student accounts.
  • Implementation of comprehensive new Senate “Forgiveness” policies.
  • System and staff readiness for the transformation of OSAP/Net Tuition.

On July 4, Lucy Fromowitz will be joining York University as our new Vice-Provost Students. You will have seen from the earlier announcements that Lucy comes to us with a wealth of experience and expertise. We are really looking forward to partnering with Lucy to move the Division forward.

Best Regards,

Carol, Sheila & Brendan

Welcoming Lucy Fromowitz as New Vice-Provost, Students

Upper-body portrait shot of Lucy Fromowitz, with Divisional branding.

Rhonda Lenton, Vice-President Academic and Provost extends a welcome to incoming Vice-Provost, Students, Lucy Fromowitz:

I am pleased to inform members of the York University community of the appointment of Ms. Lucy Fromowitz as Vice-Provost, Students; her appointment will take effect July 1, 2017.

We are delighted that Ms. Fromowitz will be returning to York University after an absence of 16 years; some members of the York community may recall that she held several positions here at York from 1978 to 2001, including Director of Alumni Affairs and Director of Admissions. She is also a York alumna, holding a BA in English and an LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School.

From 2001 to 2007, she held the position of Vice-President, Student and Community Engagement at Centennial College, where she provided leadership in relation to a broad range of student and community services and contributed to strategic planning for the division and the College. She undertook a restructuring of the division to better meet the needs of a diverse student population.  She also held responsibility for community outreach (including providing opportunities for under-served populations), strategic enrolment planning, student support and success strategy, as well as internationalization strategy.

In her most recent position as Assistant Vice-President, Student Life at the University of Toronto since 2008, Ms. Fromowitz has led the creation of a new division of Student Life, with 14 departments, the development of a unified vision and strategy for the division, and the realignment of responsibilities to support institutional goals. She spearheaded the implementation of university-wide programs to enrich student life, enhance student navigation and remove barriers to full participation; she also established and implemented a cohesive strategy for programs and services to support student learning and development within a learning outcomes framework.

We are very pleased that Ms. Fromowitz will be bringing these outstanding experiences, qualifications and skills to York University as our next Vice-Provost, Students. She will provide key leadership in advancing our institutional priorities around the enhancement of student engagement, experience, and success — including the coordination of advising and student services and supports and the promotion of communications with undergraduate and graduate students — and strategic enrolment planning and recruitment. She will also collaborate with colleagues across the University to promote a safe and healthy campus environment for all community members.

I look forward to welcoming Ms. Fromowitz back to York University and to working closely with her and colleagues in the Division of Students and across the University in the coming years to continue to advance our academic priorities.

Divisional Successes and Improvements in 2016

Interior winter holiday decorations

As the year draws to a close and we get ready to spend a few quiet moments with our friends and family, it is also a good time to look back at what lies behind us and to acknowledge the successes and improvements we’ve worked so hard to achieve as a Division.

Here are the highlights from 2016:

Structures — Physical & Organizational

  • Renovations have been completed to Hart House for use by Aboriginal students, staff and faculty. Stay tuned for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early 2017 as the Centre for Aboriginal Students (CASS) and others continue the Indigenization of York’s Keele campus.
  • We have secured funding for and begun construction of the expanded Accommodated Test & Exams Centre.
  • The Student Success Centre has been established, and in that context we also welcomed the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-Time Students (ACMAPS) into the Division.
  • Learning Skills Services moved to the Learning Commons and expanded its reach through the launch of the Learning Skills Peer team.
  • We improved and strengthened the Enrolment Management Group in support of Strategic Enrolment Management (SEM).
  • We restarted Retention Council.
  • The Sexual Violence Response Office (SVRO) was launched and is being supported by the Office of Student Community Relations (OSCR).
  • Student services planning has begun for the Markham campus.

Strategies, Programs & Processes

  • We have a Peer Mentor Program for students with disabilities and mental health issues led by students with lived experience in these areas. This means two-way support.
  • We have expanded our Mature Student Peer Mentor Program from ACMAPS.
  • We received a large donation to address mental health issues for varsity athletes.
  • The Career Success Symposium for Students with Disabilities proved valuable and popular.
  • We secured more than $40,000 in sponsorship dollars from throughout the University to implement the 2016 LeaderShape Institute.
  • We took the Leadership & Career Strategy from a test to a pilot, allowing students to recognize value, identify skills and articulate their ideas. The pilot was rolled out to 200 students and 39 supervisors.
  • We, the only university in Canada to have such funding, continued to grant it for the Autism Spectrum Disorder Pilot.
  • We expanded the It All Adds Up campaign, which focuses on helping students identify the many sometimes unacknowledged successes and accomplishments they’ve already achieved in their academic careers.
  • The Integrated Voice Response System was redesigned.
  • We initiated a number of process reviews including one for OSAP in readiness for Net Tuition.
  • We rolled out development plans.
  • Students (as well as faculty and staff) can now draw on the support of weekly visits from York’s very own Therapy Dog, Barnaby.
Three women with a dog, who is licking the face of one of them.
Barnaby and his affections.

Launches & Implementations

  • the Pan-University Mental Health strategy;
  • initial mental health stress-relieving strategies for exams at the Aviva and Tait McKenzie Centres;
  • the Gluco Fit program in partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association, supporting community members from the Jane/Finch area who have been identified as pre-diabetic or have diabetes, and assisting them with fitness and nutrition;
  • the YUAdvise professional development competency framework for advisers;
  • Electronic Fund Transfers (Direct Deposits) enabling students to receive refunds faster;
  • the Alcohol Strategy for Students;
  • Manage My Academic Record;
  • the Visual Schedule Builder;
  • the revamping of the Undergraduate Academic Calendar;
  • the Undergraduate Academic Calendar online editor;
  • a new Curriculum Management System (initial stages);
  • the Degree Progress Report to 400 users;
  • a February Convocation in Absentia for more than 800 graduands;
  • the reporting of course waivers;
  • a new process for scheduling forums;
  • revised forgiveness policies;
  • a quality-assurance program to assess the student experience.

Successes

  • We collected more than 9,000 prospect leads during Fall recruitment.
  • We exceeded our digital marketing campaign goals.
  • Ontario 101 confirmations were up 6.7 per cent.
  • We witness a 10 per cent increase in offers made to 105s (that’s 1,650 more).
  • Our international applications and offers were up by more than 35 per cent.
  • We organized the largest one-day Orientation event east of the Rockies, hosting more than 4,000 first-year students in the Lion’s Stadium for York Orientation Day.
  • We saw a 55 per cent increase in the number of students engaged with the Disability Services Career Mentorship Program.
  • We accommodated a 15 per cent rise in volume through Alternate Exams.
  • One of our Residence dons, Maseh Hadaf, received the Julianne Pettigrew Award, which recognizes the top conference presentation at OACUHO (the Ontario Association of College and University Housing Officers), to which our Residence Life Team sent a delegation.
  • The TRY (Toronto-Ryerson-York) Cup once again resides with York University as the Champions of the Intramural world for Toronto.
  • We won the National Championship in women’s tennis.
  • We made our presence felt at the 2016 Rio Olympics:
    • 5 York Athletic Therapy grads worked there;
    • John May (current women’s volleyball coach) coached the Olympic beach volleyball team;
    • York Lions Khamica Bingham (4×100 sprint) and Britt Crew (shot put) competed for Canada.

York Lion mascot high-fiving a male student in a hallway (Accolade East)

There’s a lot to reflect on and even more to be proud of — York’s Division of students clearly takes it mandate as Partners in Student Success very seriously.

We hope that these successes and improvements will serve as motivation for all of us to work even harder in 2017 to bring them to their full fruition, and to add even more points of pride to the Division.

York Launches Strategy to Advance Campus Mental Health

York's Campus Mental Health Strategy
York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy

Do you know someone who has struggled with their mental health? Perhaps a family member, close friend, colleague or even yourself? Given that 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime, chances are the dialogue around mental health taking place at York, in Canada and across the world directly impacts you or someone you know.

As this conversation grows, the impetus for change falls to institutions such as York to lead the charge to raise awareness around mental health and ensure support is readily available and accessible to all of our community members – students, staff and faculty.

The University has recognized this need and has responded by developing York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy that seeks to address the needs of our campus community. The strategy officially launched this past October 18 at Founders College Assembly Hall. More than a hundred people attended.

National College Health Assessment Findings
National College Health Assessment survey data

Among others, key stakeholder Vice-President Academic & Provost Rhonda Lenton and Mental Health Steering Committee Co-Chairs Lesley Beagrie, Suzanne Killick and Stephanie Francis spoke to the importance of York paving the way for other institutions to prioritize and support the advancement of mentally healthy campuses.

The strategy highlights mental health priorities for three key campus groups: students, staff and faculty, as identified during the community consultations spearheaded by York’s Mental Health Steering Committee. The plan will continue to reflect York’s commitment to health and wellness promotion; facilitation of care and support; and collaboration and discussion. New principles developed as a result of the consultations include:

  • deliver a long-term approach for the management of mental health challenges;
  • outline initiatives to help achieve improved mental health outcomes for members of the University community;
  • identify support aimed at helping individuals becoming more involved in managing their own mental health;
  • advocate for accessible services to be made available to the community, both on and off campus; and
  • focus on partnership with the University community and working together to achieve a mentally healthy campus.

The plan will also focus on four key priorities: leadership; planning and promotion; campus engagement; and service delivery.

Stephanie Francis, Division of Student’s mental health & wellness project lead
Stephanie Francis, Division of Student’s mental health & wellness project lead

Stephanie Francis, Coordinator, Health Education & Promotion, Student Success Centre, and the Division of Student’s mental health & wellness project lead, is encouraged by the gain made so far.

“We have already witnessed signs of progress towards advancing a mentally healthy campus within the Division of Students, and will continue to provide support and resources for students to meet strategic goals. This year, we developed and provided Mental Health training to 1000 Orientation-Week leaders; welcomed more than 600 Grade 12 students from the York Region District School Board to campus for a full day of games and lectures dedicated to educating young people about mental health; and helped conduct more than 50 community consultation sessions with students, faculty and staff to help inform the Strategy.”

Mental health extends beyond our borders here at York. It is prevalent at campuses across the country and the globe. Founder and student ambassadors from Jack.org echoed this sentiment, sharing their personal struggles and encounters with mental health issues inside and outside school communities. Led by Eric Windeler, and created in memory of his late son Jack, Jack.org is Canada’s only national network of young leaders advocating for youth mental health and aims to put an end to mental health stigma.

Jack.org
Jack.org is Canada’s only national network of young leaders advocating for youth mental health.

The investment of community members in York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy was made clear by the attendance, engagement and concerns brought forth during the question and answer period of the launch. Questions posed ranged from how York plans to simplify access to counselling services for students and increase availability of counsellors. Staff and faculty raised the need for clear resources to help them address and respond to student mental health concerns, as well as support when dealing with personal and professional issues.

While York does already offer a number of resources to aid its community members – accessible through the Mental Health & Wellness at York website – the University will also soon be adding specific, actionable recommendations that address day-to-day mental health concerns that arise on campus. Additional short-term goals include: further development of existing supports, identification of resource gaps and a continuation of community roundtable discussions (similar to past consultations) to support an open campus dialogue.

York students, staff and faculty members in attendance
York students, staff and faculty members in attendance

By re-evaluating progress every three years, the University hopes to ensure a progressive movement toward creating and maintaining a mentally healthy campus that empowers our community to thrive.

For more information about York’s Campus Mental Health Strategy and community updates, please visit: yorku.ca/mentalhealth.

Division of Students Ice Cream Social

What better way to celebrate summer and the spirit of collaboration and community than with cool, sweet treats and games outside? That is exactly what happened  yesterday, July 20, on the lawn in front of the Bennett Centre when VP Students Janet Morrison invited all members of the Division to the 2016 Ice Cream Social as a token of thanks for the work done daily to support student success at York University.

We captured a few moments of the afternoon on camera. Find a sample below and the entire set on Flickr. Enjoy!

 

Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01305Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01267Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01266Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01297Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01286Division of Students Ice Cream Social, July 2016-01272

Honouring Indigenous Heritage and Knowledge

Door square

Greetings, York community,

Wishing everyone on campus and beyond a happy National Aboriginal Day! In honour of the long-standing relationship our University has to Indigenous heritage and knowledge, and in full acknowledgment of York’s presence on the traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Métis Nation, as well as on territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit Nation, we encourage you today to take a moment to think about this connection and the importance of open dialogue.

To find out more about York’s Centre for Aboriginal Student Services (CASS) and young Indigenous voices on campus, follow the conversation our colleagues at the YUBlog had with two Work/Study students at CASS.

Skennen (in peace)

 

Excellence, Innovation, Impact: The President’s Report 2015

Cover of President's Report 2015, showing the Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence

How does York University set itself apart from other institutions of higher learning? Which developments in particular marked the year 2015 for York? These are the questions President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri explores in his recently released 2015 President’s Report.

Beautifully designed to complement the University’s character — bold, diverse, creative and dynamic — the report showcases key research, teaching and community successes from the past year, highlighting a fresh outlook on ideas in and beyond the classroom. In Dr. Shoukri’s words, “At York, we take pride in doing things differently. This report celebrates the many unique ways that the York community is making a difference, in every imaginable field.”

For more details,  check out the report’s interactive version, or find it as a full-text PDF, alongside additional information, on the 2015 President’s Report website.

 

 

 

 

 

York University hosts Supplemental Instruction Retreat Day

York University hosted the fourth Canada Eastern Supplemental Instruction Retreat Day on Feb. 17. Institutions that sent representatives to the retreat were the University of Guelph, home to the Canadian Supplemental Instruction Office; University of Toronto campuses, Scarborough and Mississauga; OCAD University; Mohawk College; and University of Rochester, New York.

The Supplemental Instruction (SI) model is based on peer-facilitated academic support for high-risk courses. The objective is to target these courses and not individual students. Peer-based study-groups are led by trained undergraduate students known as SI Leaders. Developed by the University of Kansas in 1973, SI has now been successfully carried out on a global level and launched in Canada in 1990 across various postsecondary institutions. The retreat was an opportunity to celebrate this initiative and to expand on it.

The event commenced with welcoming remarks from Krista Bianco, Canadian national representative for SI, who provides training for educational institutions. Bianco, who has worked for more than 10 years in the field, maintains that it is an exciting time in Canada for SI as many postsecondary institutions are coming forward to adopt this initiative. “It is a power model,” she said.

Janet Morrison

SI is part of the first-year experience at York University. Janet Morrison, York University’s vice-provost students, said, “SI has been, and will be a priority. It is a solution to fostering student success.” Morrison emphasized the importance of this collaboration as York University partners with SI, which she said attests to its power for both the learner and the SI student leaders. She noted that the SI experience will have long-lasting effects for the peer leaders, which will, in turn, help the students here and beyond. Support systems at York need to reflect institutional demographics, as the University is home to many first-generation university students, noted Morrison.

Mazen Hamadeh

School of Kinesiology and Health Science Professor Mazen Hamadeh spoke about the fundamentals of facilitated learning, which is crucial to the program. He said that Bethune College has integrated the SI model, known as Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), into its programming since 2010. Hamadeh noted the demand for SI has grown. Initially the program started with three SI leaders, which has since increased to 14 SI leaders. He highlighted that PASS conducts regular scheduled peer leader-facilitated study groups in an informal setting. Attendance is voluntary and students can discuss course material, readings, forecast test material, discover effective study skills and compare notes. “Facilitated learning is the key to the program,” said Hamadeh.

Participants in the retreat were told that peer leaders go through a detailed hiring process and are required to be in good academic standing with the institution. Employment procedure consists of a solo interview, panel interview, role playing and ethics training. In recognition for their efforts, peer leaders are provided with a letter of reference and co-curricular record, and are hired into Work/Study positions to foster development of transferable skills.

The SI program at York University continues to evolve, with a new wave of SI leaders working in collaboration with incoming students to develop lifelong skills while enhancing their first-year experience at York.

By Sunera Ali, student ambassador in the Division of Students — Republished from yFile

Division of Students launches refreshed website for transfer students

The refreshed transfer student website, launched by the Division of Students, aims to reduce barriers and focus on access and mobility. The new streamlined design features a simple structure that is responsive and easy to navigate for current and prospective transfer applicants. Visitors to the website can now quickly and easily find important information about transfer requirements, eligibility, the transfer process and final steps of admission.

York is currently working to provide support and focus to its community of 10, 000 transfer students. The goal to redesign the website also aligns with the ONTransfer initiative, which seeks to provide transfer students with enhanced transfer opportunities at participating colleges and universities across Ontario.

For more information about the features of the redesigned transfer student website, visit Yfile.

Transfer Credit_Ontario College Transfer Process